The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy

Michael McCarthy. New York Review Books, $27.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-68137-040-8
In this mesmerizing combination of memoir, treatise, and paean to the natural world, British environmental writer McCarthy (Say Goodbye to the Cuckoo) weaves the personal with the political and the local with the global to create a compelling examination of Earth’s current ecological crisis. Whether he is recounting being seven years old and encountering a buddleia bush festooned with hundreds of colorful butterflies or introducing his 17-year-old son to the iridescent blue of a kingfisher, McCarthy shares the absolute sense of joy he feels. It is joy of this sort that he believes can end the devastation humans are wreaking on the natural world. Contra sustainable development or “ecosystem services,” he argues forcefully for joy to become a third way in defense of nature. McCarthy asserts that all humans have the propensity to love nature and to experience the same joy he has. The imperative for immediate action is dire, he argues, hauntingly describing the “great thinning” of wildlife in Britain as well as the destruction of the Saemangeum estuary flats in South Korea and the collapse of bird populations that previously depended upon the area to fuel their migrations. McCarthy’s call is unlikely to shape real policy, but his writing is beautiful, sincere, and powerful. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/11/2016
Release date: 10/04/2016
Hardcover - 262 pages - 978-1-4447-9277-5
Ebook - 978-1-68137-041-5
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